Sheer Video "BitJazz" Codec

Posted by Chuck Spaulding 
Sheer Video "BitJazz" Codec
January 22, 2007 02:10PM
I would like to create a "digital intermediate" work flow that can be reconfigured to meet the need of various types of projects rather than having to conform the project to the workflow [or sequence settings]. I regularly have to combine footage from a Sony F900, Z1, and HVX200 for example and work with several artisans using [at least trying to use] FCP, After Effects, Illustrator, Photoshop, etc..

This is not without presedence, combining the various HD formats within a single sequence works very well using the Cineform Digital Intermediate Codec on the PC with PPro2 [here's some information for anyone who might be interested in learning more -- []].

The answer I hear most often from FCP users is "why would you want to do this?" Which is always followed up by just convert everything to DVCProHD and your good to go, and that MIGHT be the right answer. However, this is just my opinion but I am not impressed with the DVCProHD codec which compresses 1920x1080 to 960x1080 4:2:2 8bit. The Cineform codec uses wavelet compression resulting in a much better 1920x1080 4:2:2 10bit image with a lower data footprint.

I read the review by Graeme Nattress in this forum about the Sheer Video "Bitjazz" codec and I'm hoping it can be used in a similar way with FCP as the Cineform codec with PPro on the PC. But that review was posted in 2004 and I'm hoping that there are others who have more current experience using this codec. The Bitjazz website just reads too good to be true, if you believe everything they say this codec does we would have World peace and a cure for World hunger. Not to say that that it can't help ot that would be a bad thing...

Can anyone shed some light on this product.
Re: Sheer Video "BitJazz" Codec
January 22, 2007 06:53PM
There has been some discussion about this codec before - it seems to surface for a while and then drop back into the crowd. Here's a list of previous entries about it..

Bitjazz discussions on LAFCPUG

Re: Sheer Video "BitJazz" Codec
January 22, 2007 07:11PM

Ending war and hunger are definitely worthier causes than real-time lossless video compression, but that's our focus. If BitJazz stumbles upon a way to use our products to end war and hunger, I promise we'll put it in the public domain. Until then, we will continue to make modest contributions to other organizations working for those causes.

Please don't take our word for any of our claims. Download the fully functional SheerVideo Pro demo and try it out for yourself. On our website, we publish detailed results backing up our claims, along with detailed specifications on how we measure our results, and invite everyone to measure them for themselves.

For people currently working with uncompressed video, SheerVideo really does take less time and less space while maintaining perfect uncompressed quality. In marketing, it's so rare to run across an innovative product that doesn't require compromise that when one does, it's hard to believe.

Most of the formats you're currently using, however, are not uncompressed, so for you SheerVideo would entail compromise. Compared to DVCProHD and Cineform, Sheer Y'CbCr 8bv 4:2:2 and Sheer Y'CbCr 10bv 4:2:2 would give you perfect quality and lower your CPU load, but at the cost of a higher data rate.

Many of our customers are using SheerVideo as a lossless intermediate codec between multiple applications and across platforms. I hope some of them speak up here.


Andreas Wittenstein
President, BitJazz Inc.
Re: Sheer Video "BitJazz" Codec
January 23, 2007 12:50AM
Hi Andreas,

Thanks for the reply. I too am hoping people who have experience with your product speak up.

While capturing video via a capture card [Aja or Blackmagic] can I encode with the Sheer Video Codec in realtime or do I have to first capture and then encode? Also if it can encode while capturing can it do the same via firewire [HDV]?

Obviously I'm searching for a common format to post-produce all HD data and I realize that the data rate for HDV converted to the Sheer video file format will significantly increase [Cineform increases HDV from 25Mb/s to ~100Mb/s], and that it should significantly lower the data rate of uncompressed from ~192MB/s to ? What is the bandwidth of DVCProHD once converted with the Sheer video codec?

I'm off to a conference on Thursday for a week. I'll try the free evaluation when I return. Hopefully some of the members/customers here will add their thoughts to this thread.

Thanks again for the reply and good luck with that World peace thing...
Re: Sheer Video "BitJazz" Codec
February 10, 2007 02:02PM

I downloaded the demo, looks great in SD but having difficulty in HD. I emailed support a couple of days ago but no reply. Since your the boss could you please cjeck into this?

Also, has anyone else had experience with this codec?
Re: Sheer Video "BitJazz" Codec
March 06, 2007 12:11PM

Yes, you can capture straight to SheerVideo. In fact, the SheerVideo Installation package comes with a slew of Easy Setups for Final Cut Pro containing Presets for capturing with AJA and Blackmagic Design cards. Look in the "Extras:for Final Cut Pro" folder.

- Andreas
Re: Sheer Video "BitJazz" Codec
March 06, 2007 12:17PM
For others who might run into the same issue, the problem was that SheerVideo was not showing up in Final Cut Pro. This and more serious misbehavior, including Final Cut Pro and other applications crashing on launch, was due to limitations in Final Cut Pro 5.1.2 and QuickTime 7.1.2 restricting the number of codecs to 64, whereas SheerVideo itself currently contains 8 encoders, 8 decoders, and 5 transcoders. Fortunately, Apple removed these limitations in Final Cut Pro 5.1.4 and QuickTime 7.1.5.
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